Fact: Sega’s AM2 team are the most successful developers of arcade machines today. This comes from their standards of extremely high quality, in the technology they use, and most importantly in the superb playability of their games. Of all the great titles they have produced, Virtua Fighter 2 would have to be the very best, and it is now available on Saturn.

To those unfamiliar with the title, Virtua Fighter began what is almost a new genre – that of the 3D fighting game. On the surface the premise is very similar to other fighting titles; take your pick from one of ten characters and defeat your opponents by kicking and punching them until their energy bar is empty.

What Virtua Fighter 2 offers is a 3D ring in which to fight and incredibly realistic characters made up of textured polygons and truly beautiful backdrops that surround the ring, with clever use of multilayered parallax scrolling providing the 3D illusion. These are widely regarded as the best graphics on any game on any system, bar none. Not only do they look good, but the characters move so fluidly you could swear it was real. The animation is silky smooth – in fact, the frame rate is as high as our PAL TV system allows, that is 50 fps and it’s running full screen at a resolution of 704 x 480. This is the highest resolution ever used in any console game.

Combine those jawdropping graphics with brilliantly arranged music (choice of arcade and remixed versions), thumpingly good sound effects and crystal clear voices, and you have the true demonstration of the Saturn’s power that Sega promised.

Virtua Fighter 2 is, to say the least, a phenominal achievement. It is still one of the most technically advanced games in the arcade, and, amazingly, it has been converted to Saturn with very few omissions. The only one I noticed was the bridge from Shun’s stage.

Usually this is the part where the marks are lost on these gorgeous looking games for their lack of depth – not so Virtua Fighter 2. As incredible as the audiovisuals are, they are nothing compared to the deeply involving gameplay programmed into this game. The wealth of moves and strategies, over 700 in all, as well as extremely intelligent computer opponents who study your techniques and learn from them, make this an unforgettable experience. Factor in various two player modes, a ranking, expert and watch option, in which you simply watch the computer play (and learn its strategies yourself), and you have an almost perfect game.

In short, Virtua Fighter 2 is quite possibly the best video game ever created. It’s a damn near perfect port of the arcade game and if you have the means, or even if you don’t, you simply MUST get it. It is too good to miss out on.

Presentation: 92% Graphics: 97% Sound: 96% Playability: 98% Lastability: 94% Overall: 98%